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5 Best Practices to Stop Being Scared of Failure

“I've been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I've never let it keep me from doing a single thing that I wanted to do.” ― Georgia O'Keefe

A piece of artwork with this quote adorns my living room wall.

It has kicked me out of some of my most fearful times–when I’ve been consumed by uncertainty and self-doubt. The times I was overwhelmed by fear of failure.

The truth is, we never fail… we only stop. 

The only way we cannot be successful at reaching a desired goal is if we stop.

When I first heard this from my mentor I had to spend some time unpacking it. Determined to prove him wrong, I ran down a list of scenarios in my mind. For days! And the Truth is, he was right.

There are only two ways to fail at something. One is to never start and the other is to stop.

Some people find it hard to believe I was a very successful procrastinator.  It’s true. People say, “Wow, that’s amazing, how did you find the time to write and publish a book?”

Sure, it took a serious commitment to accomplish that.

But the truth is, it took me years just to write the outline. And another few to start writing the manuscript.  When I told my healing story, people would say “you should write a book.” I knew they were right.

Many, many times I had contemplated bringing my story to the world. But, I was also afraid of being seen. I knew that my story could inspire others but it took me several years to build up the courage to put it out in the world.

There was a very good chance that my fear of failure could prevent me from expressing my true self. It’s as if all those people who encouraged me were sent by the universe to help me overcome my fears.

And indeed, they did.

Fear of failure is a state of mind.

Most often our inner critic is trying to keep us committed to some kind of agreement we made with our unconscious, subconscious mind.

Agreements are roles that we have taken on, sometimes in childhood, that no longer serve us or our personal growth.

They provide a false sense of self and security. They are not in agreement with our purpose or our true self.

Okay, great Martha. But how do I break free from the agreements and fear?

Breaking free from fear of failure happens with a two-part strategy.

The first part is: do the very thing that scares the crap out of you.

The truth is, the perceived fear is usually way worse than the actual event will be. Once you do it, you’ll free up all kinds of energy and you’ll likely feel exhilarated by the results.

There’s that old saying–God doesn’t bring us to anything that we can’t handle. I’ve found this to be true.

It’s also true that the purpose of “life” is to create “more life”. 

When we’re brought to something that feels scary, and “out of our league” or comfort zone,  The Universal Law of expansion is at work.

We can’t expand our essence and energy by staying in the same place.

The second part to releasing fear of failure is to change our awareness of how we view life events.

When writing my book, I desperately wanted to have it published by Hay House. Having owned a spiritual book store, I attended several events sponsored by Hay House. Eventually I submitted a book proposal to them. It was rejected. I was dejected!

Now, nearly 5 years later I can clearly look back and see that this was in no way a failure, even though it felt like one at the time.

Being rejected, I immediately sided with the inner critic and went down the “I’m a failure” rabbit hole.  Now I know, “if a door doesn’t open, it’s not my door.” And Hay House was not the right door. It had nothing to do with me being a failure.

My path was meant to be different.  Today, I am very grateful that I didn’t get enmeshed with Hay House. I feel that I was actually being protected.

Often, we are more committed to the old roles and agreements than we are to our new desires. 

Our default programming tells us it’s safer to stay where we are. Our mind starts to circle round and round. It creates a false sense of security to keep us where we are.

Since leaving a paycheck job, I’ve had numerous experiences that didn’t go as I expected. Years later, every single one of those experiences has shown me just how strong and tenacious I really am. I’ve grown in ways I could never imagine.

I went into the depths of darkness and found my way out. I became a person that knows deep pain, sorrow, fear, joy, and exhilaration. I have been prosperous and I’ve been broke.

But, I never failed. Even in the darkest times I asked for guidance and clarity and it came.

No matter what the circumstances, I never became homeless or helpless. I cherish all I’ve learned about myself, other people, and life.

Actually, the fear of failure inspired me to keep going, rather than stop. 

If I stopped, I had quit on myself. Plain and simple. I couldn’t blame any failure on the Universe. I would know that I had stopped.

Doubt and uncertainty no longer consume me or have the power to disarm my dream. 

Sometimes they slow me down. But they never stopped me. I’ve learned to slow down, to discern the next best steps to get me where I wanted to go.

1.  ‘Reflect’ each day.

Successful people take time out of their day (every day) to take a step back and reflect on their life. What’s working? What’s not working?

For many, this involves meditation, but often, a simple walk can do the trick. You may not always have the time to sit and meditate. Instead, go for a walk, unplugged; taking the time to reflect and ‘take’ it all in. This is one positive habit anyone can do, and all it takes is 10-15 minutes each day.

I personally start every single day in my meditation chair. I read, reflect, plan, meditate, and clear blocked energy from my body.

2.  Wake up early (even if you aren’t a morning person.)

You won’t meet many successful people who sleep beyond 7am. Whether you’re a morning person or not, there’s huge value to waking up early (even if you spend this time reflecting, instead of working).

This could change your life, offering you the time to get more done and relieve stress. How you start your day is how you continue it. So if you begin tired, frustrated, and frantic, how can you expect the rest of your day to be anything different?

3.  Focus on the work you need to do.

There’s always a million tasks you could work on, but there’s usually only one that is a priority. Successful people do not allow distractions to take control. They focus. They get the job done. They work on what they need to, and everything else takes a backseat.

Single-focus ‘deep work’ proves to be most successful for staying productive, despite today’s obsession towards ‘hustling’ and multi-tasking at a relentless pace.

There’s no glory in the ‘hustle’. Success lies in focus, and getting what you need to do done (as in, right now)!

4.  Show up every single day

Jerry Seinfeld became one of the world’s most successful comedians, not by working the hardest, but by working smarter than everyone else. His philosophy was simple: turn up each day and do ‘something’.

Create an energy entity. Build momentum. Focus on achieving one small win today, and repeat the same tomorrow. If you show up for yourself and your dream EVERY single day you will become the energy of success.

5.  Do not fear mistakes or failure.

As human beings, we all share something in common: we make mistakes.

Successful people are no different, but they do approach mistakes or the idea of failure in a different way.  They do not let it hold them back. If anything, they ensure it leads them to greatness.

Srinivas Rao, said, “without failure, you are a loser.”  This is how successful people think. This is how they approach each day. They appreciate failure may occur today, but they do not allow this to stand in their way.

Mistakes happen, but they are not the reasons you fail.

The only time you fail is if you allow fear to take control of you.

The only time you fail is if you stop.

Keep your attention on these  5 tips and no matter what you desire, you will arrive at success. With a little tweaking to your approach and mindset, you will stop being afraid of failure. Keep moving. Be willing to invest all of your resources (time, money, and energy), to learn what you need to get yourself to the next level. I have hired numerous mentors and coaches in the last 14 years. A few years into self-employment I observed a set of qualities that all successful people had.  I learned to embrace and practice them and fear of failure became a thing of the past.

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